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Shohei Ohtani gives Red Sox, others homework

Rob Bradford
November 25, 2017 - 7:25 pm

Shohei Ohtani is going to make sure he knows what he is getting into.

According to the Associated Press, Ohtani's agent, Nez Balelo, has asked all 30 major league teams to submit explanations -- in both English and Japanese -- as to why their clubs might be a good fit for the star pitcher and hitter. Balelo requested that no financial terms of a possible contract be included.

Ohtani is expected to be posted Dec. 2 by his team in Japan, the Nippon Ham Fighters. Once posted, any club can submit a bid of $20 million for the right to negotiate with the 23-year-old. Ohtani then has three weeks to agree on a deal. Only the team securing the services of the two-way player will lose its $20 million, with the money going to the Ham Fighters.

According to AP, Balelo has asked the interested teams to include the following: 1. Their evaluations of Ohtani as a pitcher and hitter; 2. An explanation of its player development, medical training and player performance philosophies and facilities; 3. A description of its minor league and spring training facilities; 4. Details of resources for Ohtani's cultural assimilation into the team's city; 5. A vision of how Ohtani could integrate into each organization; 6. Why the team is a desirable place to play.

The details outlined in the request -- which was distributed through the commissioner's office -- are important since Ohtani's earning power will be limited. The most he can earn via a signing bonus will be the $3,535,000 the Rangers possess in international signing bonus pool money, with the Red Sox only able to offer $400,000. After the signing bonus, Ohtani will be limited to a deal worth the major league minumum. After the 2019 season, when he turns 25 years old, is when he can sign a major league extension.

The good news for the Red Sox, who will be pursuing Ohtani, is that the consensus among major league executives is the signing bonus money won't be a priority. The Red Sox might also be able to offer Ohtani a chance to become at least a part-time designated hitter, while pitching out of their rotation. The Sox have extensively scouted the righty pitcher/lefty hitter, going back to his days as a high school star.

 

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